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ZONE - Veritshire

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#321 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 12:44 AM

Caiden and Tom’s counterattack was completely unexpected, and many of the rebels did not have the time to realize that they outnumbered the resistance they were faced with.  Of course, their numbers were about to cease being an issue.  Drake’s savage fury brought two of the assailants down, their blood joining those of the innocents on the ground.  Caiden hacked down one as he tried to escape the knight’s wrath, then instinctively whirled to meet another approaching from his flank, only to see that the man was tottering and struggling to keep his feet, courtesy of Percula’s efforts.  A quick charge and the impact of one of the Venator’s massive shoulders sent the thug the rest of the way to the ground, and a followup stab from his broadsword sent him even deeper below.

Kye stuck close to Caiden as space began to clear on the street.  Two of the remaining insurgents tried to surprise the Venator from behind, but the assassin’s swift parries and ripostes allowed him to wound one on the arm, discouraging them from closing the distance.  Having lost more than half their men, the remaining murderers broke and fled...straight into Neitha and Marcus’ reinforcements.

 

Neitha’s first strike went wide with rage and her target’s luck, but instead of capitalizing on his good fortune, the man decided to retaliate against the former gladiatrix.  He attempted to bring his knife around, only to find his arm bound by the woman’s free hand, then twisted away with a strength he did not expect.  Neitha then twirled him back from whence he came, slashing the back of his neck and sending him down in a slump.

 

Marcus effortlessly impaled another target in the gut, then followed through with another stab to the shoulder, gruesomely levering him to his knees where another Inquisitor could put him out of his misery.  The other two Ebonguards used their weight and strength to their advantage, one shrugging off a desperate lunge and yanking their target’s knife-arm out of the way, while the other crushed his windpipe with a void iron fist, then plunged his sword into the wheezing rebel’s chest.

 

The last two attackers met their end unceremoniously under Veritshire spears and shield bosses, the grey-clad sentries shouting with outrage and grief and the atrocities they had witnessed.  Ten southron rebels lay dead, but so did three guards, seven regular citizens, and twelve holy men and women, mostly Imperial save for the priest of Ra who had attempted to resist.  Many of the others were wounded, including old Lucretia, the priestess of Hades who had greeted Marcus, Caiden, and Neitha upon arriving.  A priest of Apollo tried to tend to her leg, but she had pulled the corpse of one of her novices into a final embrace, sobbing uncontrollably.

 

The horror of what they had just witnessed was just beginning to set in.  As Marcus knelt to close the eyes of a fallen novice, he strained to ask, “Why?  These weren’t nobles or merchants.  What kind of anger could cause such...sacrilege?”  Then, more screams and, this time, flames erupted from the town square.  Behnam cursed under his breath before snarling, “The kind seeking to draw us away from their real target.  Back to the square, now!”

 

---

 

As everyone charged back toward the town square, they could see that the wagons of oil and alcohol had been set ablaze as a makeshift barrier, the intense heat keeping most of the defenders back.  However, a few wagons were not yet burning, despite the efforts of yet more rebels standing atop them.  A bolt from Caiden’s crossbow and one of Neitha’s throwing knives sent two of the would-be arsonists tumbling from the wagons, and adventurers and guards alike began to climb up to disrupt the efforts of the rest.

 

Upon reaching their destination, however, they saw that someone else had beaten them to the punch.  A surge of the yellow-arrayed warehouse guards had come up from behind, mercilessly cutting down the masked thugs in their wake.  One fell to his knees wailing, “We are betrayed!”  only to be yanked to his feet by a giant of a man with a butcher’s hook.  The attacker screamed and grabbed feebly at the tool imbedded in his shoulder until a cleaver sank into his skull with a sickening crunch.  The butcher with the yellow sash retrieved his weapons and tossed the corpse aside like a rejected carcass, before nodding politely to those party members who had managed to climb over the carts.  The rest of his men finished off what remained of the assassins or went to help the Guards put out the fires, lest they spread through the city and multiply their woes.

 

The carnage in the town square was more contained but certainly no less gruesome than the massacre of the clergy.  Some of the older nobles and many of their more dedicated servants lay dead, by arrow or blade.  A few gold-hilted swords lay bloody in the hands of their owners, or simply lay on the ground, hardly even out of their scabbards.  The old Lord Telos owned one of the latter, his children and friends weeping where they knelt around his crumpled form.  The haughty Sir Leonus also seemed to have lost a father, though his tears seemed to be coming much more slowly.  

 

Marcus and Behnam ran to where their parents and the Priscii sat, nursing various wounds.  Lucille was wrapping scraps of her dress around her father, the steward’s leg, while an already-bandaged Alfonso supported his lord’s back.  Petruchio Capulet was fussing with a gash on the old man’s head, while his wife tried to attend to a similar one on his arm still trapped in a sling.

 

Upon seeing the Sheriff and his followers, Sir Leonus and a few other nobles rose indignantly.  “You left us!,” the pink-clad knight roared.  “You call THIS keeping the peace, you lowborn oaf?”  Behnam stood to face him defiantly and Marcus did the same to support him, but before they or the wounded steward could do anything, Lord Obduro stepped in, wiping his sword clean before sheathing it loudly to get his fellows’ attention.

 

“How can we blame him for obeying his Lord’s orders, much less to protect the very servants of the gods?  I’m just glad my warehouse guards were close enough to intervene, and courageous enough to do so.  Our Sheriff and our Veritshire Guard did their duty, but the irregulars, including the strangers this man hired, did so much more!  They should all be commended, wouldn’t you agree?”  Lord Obduro’s speech seemed genuine enough, but some could not help but sense that he was capitalizing on the situation.

 

“We are the Founding Families of this city, my lords and ladies, and angry, lawless rabble have never beaten us before.  Just like in the siege, we have all shown strength despite adversity, and this city shall shine all the brighter for it!”  Felix’s voice reached an unusually stentorian tone as he addressed all those around him.  

 

“This is not a time to shift blame, but to mourn what we have lost and use what we have gained, as we always do.  These rebels sought to cut out everything that made this city great and to mar this celebration, but instead they showed us that if we hope to keep this city, we cannot be content to sit back and latch onto what few parts of it bear our colors.”

 

Kneeling in front of the wounded steward and Lord Telos’ crying children, he concluded,” I, Felix Obduro, pledge to do my best to help the lord steward and our new heads of houses to solidify their positions and safeguard this city.”  Looking at his peers, he added, “I hope that each of you will do the same.”

 

Agreeably or begrudgingly, the remaining representatives of the founding families knelt and joined him in his pledge.  Steward Priscus had Alfonso help him stagger to his feet, despite his daughter’s protestations.  “Lord Obduro has spoken well, and we all owe our lives to him and his men.  Likewise, our brave Sheriff and his family have also done their part for this city, finding and resisting these ruffians who defy both men and gods alike.  Tragedy has once again struck this city, but thanks to these two grand houses, we still stand, to heal our wounds and build new bonds, as we did five and twenty years ago.”  Shaking the hands of both Lord Felix and Sheriff Behnam, the aging Steward said, “Truly, I could not ask for better aid in protecting this city.  The three of us will have much to discuss for the future, I am sure.  For now, as Lord Obduro said, let us mourn, and then begin to rebuild once again.”

 

---

 

The aftermath of the massacre was bittersweet, but all who reflected on it the following morning agreed that it could have been worse if not for someone’s intervention...even if their subject changed depending on whom you asked.  The warehouse irregulars eagerly joined their more formal brothers-in-arms in restoring order to the city and exacting retribution on those murderers that had survived the battle.  The Veritshire Guard resented the fact that they had been caught spread so thin, but were grateful for the assistance of both the hired help and their once-inferior yellow-clad counterparts.

 

Marcus wondered if the rebels’ sudden grasp of tactics and equally-rapid elimination had been a little too convenient, but kept such theories to himself.  Behnam thanked each of his brother’s companions (that he knew about) personally for their rapid action and courage in defending a city not their own.  Each was given a small purse with generous wages for the days they had worked, and he also allowed them to keep the document with his seal, saying they were welcome to stay as long as they wished or come to him again if they ever needed further employment.  Back at the manor, Marcus’ uncle Vitruvius pointed Neitha, Kye, Caiden, and Tom to a shelf of vambraces, pauldrons, and other articles of quality plate mail that would not require much custom fitting.  “You’d need to stay quite a while for me to get any of you kitted up proper, but if you find something that fits here, you’re welcome to it.  You lot protected this family and this city, hopefully this steel can return the favor.”

 

While the party was occupied with inspecting their potential upgrades, Marcus sidled up to Caiden and furtively slid a golden circlet sized for a doll...or perhaps a pixie...closer to him on the shelf.  “I heard a certain someone put her mischief to use in helping you save the priests.  I doubt she would want or use armor of this size, but perhaps you could pass on my appreciation of her aid...and self-control...wherever she is.”

 

Meanwhile, Petruchio and Pegah had volunteered their home to those orphaned or injured by the attacks, including the traumatized survivors of the priesthood.  The Capulets took a break from doling out food, nursing, and encouragement to also thank Marcus’ friends by name.  “The gods brought you and our son here at an opportune time.” Mr. Capulet proclaimed.  “If not for your courage, who knows how many more lives could have been lost, including our own!”  Pegah helped her husband remain steady as she added, “Our family and city are truly blessed to count you among our friends.  Our house is a bit more full than when you arrived, but we still have room for you.  We will always have room for you.”

 

((Maverick, Sareth, and Burger, feel free to retropost your reactions to these final events and claim your reward for persevering to the end of this campaign.  As promised, this DM post is the end of this plotline, and I will formally transition us into the next zone and back under Wolfy’s full control once we wrap things up here.  Thank you once again for your patience during my first foray in DMing.  I look forward to rejoining you as a player in the new campaign: Chasing Shadows.  Long live Team Drake!))

 

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#322 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 08:05 AM

Caiden and Kye offered little by way of commentary during the events - the former wasn't surprising, the latter just seemed uncharacteristically quiet. That, and when things began to die down, Caiden quickly but carefully snatched Percula off his shoulder and gently returned her to the pouch on his belt. They were all getting entirely too many looks now to make him feel comfortable with her being out in the open.

 

Drake, as usual, was his vocal self, though he mostly spoke to taunt his foes. When the yellow-clad warehouse guards cut down the remaining enemies, Drake narrowed his eyes and watched in silence, his grip on his swords tightening. Regardless, he somehow managed to swallow any remarks about how odd it seemed... He'd seen "convenience" like this before.

 

When they all received their rewards, none of them could refuse the money - after all, traveling for so long had left a lot of them essentially broke. Drake's shame at having to accept it was plain on his face and his seeming inability to meet Behnam's gaze when he took the coin purse from him, though Caiden had no embarrassment and Kye just took it all in stride.

 

At the manor, however, all three of them were surprised to find the plate armor reward. Drake, however, took nothing - he had his own suit of custom-fitted armor already, even as prone as he was to losing it during a transformation. Kye took a vambrace for his right hand and some shinplates for his boots, along with a metal plate to wear over his heart for some added protection, like some Imperial legionary. Caiden took some extra armor as well, particularly some gauntlets and boots.

 

Marcus then sidled up to him and slid a small golden circlet in his direction. “I heard a certain someone put her mischief to use in helping you save the priests.  I doubt she would want or use armor of this size, but perhaps you could pass on my appreciation of her aid...and self-control...wherever she is.”

 

The Venator gave a very subtle, one-sided smile. "I'm sure she heard you," he replied quietly as he took the circlet between two fingers and pointedly - if discreetly - slipped it into the pouch in which Percula still hid, to direct Marcus's attention to it. He fully expected her to peek out at 'Mr. Mustache' at any minute.

 

---

 

Later, as the Capulets spoke to them, Drake in particular felt he should've been prouder of what was said...

 

“The gods brought you and our son here at an opportune time.” Mr. Capulet proclaimed.  “If not for your courage, who knows how many more lives could have been lost, including our own!”  Pegah helped her husband remain steady as she added, “Our family and city are truly blessed to count you among our friends.  Our house is a bit more full than when you arrived, but we still have room for you.  We will always have room for you.”

 

Drake gave a smile and a nod, despite the dull pain deep in his gut at his literal inability to accept such hospitality - as he once could have. "Thank you," he said. "But... I don't stay in one place for very long anymore. I'm, y'know, out seeing the world now."

 

Kye didn't offer much by way of response, just a nod, letting others speak for him. Sure, he'd love to stay somewhere for a while, maybe try to find a home - but a city full of so many priests and pious people and, especially, nice people didn't need something like him around. Not that they would want something like him around, if they knew the truth.

 

Caiden was one of the last to speak, saying only, "I appreciate the hospitality. I'm sure I'll come back this way soon enough, and I'll happily take you up on that offer... But, for now, I have duties elsewhere."


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#323 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 08:40 AM

((I'm going to post in this section one last time, dang it!))

 

Agethar thought the color black suited him.

 

The Capulet had insisted on him wearing black to the celebration, so he had. Everything he wore to the celebration was black, though he had put his foot down on the matter of his axes and his brooch: they were the only non-black things he ended up wearing to the parade and flowing party.

 

The Northerner was genuinely enjoying himself at the party. Maugrimm was as well, as the dog helped himself to a good deal of the scraps that lay about.

 

However, inevitably, the Rebels decided to crash the party.

 

Agethar was to far away to stop the Rebels from slaughtering the Priests, though he was close enough to join the town guards in attacking a second group of Rebels that had set fire to the refreshment stand and had begun to attack the nobles present there.

 

The next few minutes were a blur, though later he remembered several things: the rage and sorrow of not being able to save more people, the feeling recurring feeling of wanting to punch the Leonus the Pink knight, and the joy of having a large amount of money again.

 

---

 

Back at the manor, Agethar changed back into his old attire (though he secretly stowed away his black clothing), and gratefully accepted the plate armor, as his battered Venator armor was long overdue for an upgrade.

 

After Lord and Lady Capulet had thanked him, which was a even greater honor than the gifts themselves, he walked over to the rest of the group (fortunately after Caiden had gotten Percula's circlet).

 

"Hey," he said to the group "I know that none o' ye will admit it, but I ken that I've been more o' a hindrance than a help, just like at Stonebridge. Though this time, I want to leave on better terms with ye all." 

 

"I'd like tae thank ye all fer puttin' up with me (he glanced at Caiden briefly as he said this) and I'm sorry fer any inconvenience to ye that I might 'ave caused. I'll accompany ye part o' th' way back, though I'm headed back tae Greywatch fer a while: I need some more money before I started tae travel again."



#324 Burger Warrior

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 11:23 AM

Percula took a deep breath to steady herself as the adrenaline died down, as did the situation. The assassins had been carved up in rather short order… not that that did much good for the pixie’s stomach as she beheld the carnage-ravaged street. She leaned a little more against Caiden’s shoulder, have done so original when he had suddenly gone into a charge with his other side, and almost didn’t notice as the Venator carefully lifted her up.

 

She did manage to offer him a brief, weak smile before Caid set her back into hiding.

 

After that, though, things got really boring for a bit. Some guy gave speeches, they walked around, and they were apparently presented with gifts. Well, some people were presented with gifts. Saffron made a face at the fact she’d seemingly been forgotten, though she couldn’t help but peer out and see what Caiden had got, at least. It was a little surprising to see him pulling on some fancy new armor; even if it wasn’t much.

 

Then something rather surprising occurred.

 

“I heard a certain someone put her mischief to use in helping you save the priests.  I doubt she would want or use armor of this size, but perhaps you could pass on my appreciation of her aid...and self-control...wherever she is.”

 

Percula peered up in time to see the Venator gave a very subtle, one-sided smile. "I'm sure she heard you," he replied quietly as he took the circlet between two fingers and pointedly - if discreetly - slipped it into the pouch in which Percula still hid, to direct Marcus's attention to it. He fully expected her to peek out at 'Mr. Mustache' at any minute, but probably hadn’t expected her to intervene in the pass, snatching the little circlet from his grip and looking it over with wide eyes.

 

After a few moments of gawking at the trinket, Percula slipped in on and quickly, furtively glanced around for any sign of Agethar or some other guard. For the most part it just seemed to be people who knew her (well, about her), so without further ado the pixie suddenly shot up from Caiden’s pouch. With a big, perhaps somewhat sheepish grin, she lunged at ‘Mister Mustache’s’ face and caught his nose in a ‘big’ hug. “Awww, thanks!” Saffron said, before equally abruptly returning to her hiding spot: though she remained visible to those looking for her.

 

-----

 

While that was not the end of the aftermath by far, Percula didn’t feel any need to partake in events further and simply took some time to nap… and tried not to dwell on the horrific carnage she’d witnessed so recently.


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#325 Sareth

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 11:30 AM

The battle was over, and, with it, anger gave way to simple weariness. But Neitha's mind was not at ease. They had failed to save too many, and questions still remained... She couldn't help but wonder about that attacker shouting about betrayal, about the warehouse guards' convenient, if welcome, arrival, about Obduro's speech afterwards... Could he have been behind it all, she wondered; could he have secretly inflamed people into rebelling, only to crush them? But why? To eliminate what he saw as undesirable elements? To gain himself and his warehouse guards more prestige or power by playing the savior?

 

They were disturbing thoughts, but she eventually dismissed them as simply the result of post-battle stress —of her body still being amped up from the fight, still looking for threats. It was over, that was what mattered.

 

She was quiet during the thanking, though she took the proffered money gratefully —if not with a touch of surprise as well; with everything that had been happening, she had more-or-less forgotten that she was actually getting paid for her time defending the city —now wasn't that a first... The offer for further employment struck her too. She wondered what it would be like, getting paid regularly, never having to worry about where she'd get more money to live on, doing honest work... She suspected she might get bored, or wouldn't be able to stand having to deal with the families of victims —like she had with Marius' parents. No, it probably wasn't for her... But, the offer was still comforting somehow —it meant someone thought she was good for something other than killing and thieving.

 

The second reward left her a bit conflicted. It was a handsome gift —she knew full well how expensive good armor could be— but she liked the armor she already had, and didn't like to weigh herself down too much anyhow. But she couldn't just turn down such an offer either... After much poring over the presented assortment, she eventually settled on a pair of nicely-sculpted steel greaves that fit her quite well, covering her lower legs up to the knee; they didn't weigh too much, and she really should protect her legs some, given how much she liked to move around —both in combat and without.

 

Our family and city are truly blessed to count you among our friends. Our house is a bit more full than when you arrived, but we still have room for you. We will always have room for you.”

 

"T-thank you" Neitha replied softly, Pegah's word's twinging something deep inside her, something she'd given up on, forgotten —tried to forget: a sense of belonging, of home. They would be leaving soon, undoubtedly, but maybe she, and hopefully Marcus, would come back here someday... she'd like that, she thought. Despite why they'd come, and the other things that had happened, this city was the nicest place she had ever been; it was the place where she had been, even if briefly, the happiest she had ever been since her childhood —a lifetime ago...

 

Yes, there was just one more thing... Eventually, she managed to get ahold of Marcus and drag him off to some at least moderately-private corner of the house —a rather more difficult thing to find now, given how many people his parents had invited to stay in their home for the time being.

 

"We got interrupted before... I thought we should talk" she said softly, leaning up against a wall, arms crossed. "I know we'll be leaving soon; you have your duties, and the others have... whatever the hell it is they do. But, before that, I wanted to ask... I was wondering —damn!" she broke off with a sheepish laugh, covering her face with one hand to hide her embarrassment as much as her incipient blush. "... So this is what being self-concious feels like..." she muttered to herself.

 

"Look, I just... I need to know —I need to hear you say it. Are you willing to give this —us— a try?" she asked softly, despite the weight that the question held for her. "You don't know everything about me, but you know a lot: I'm a killer, a thief, a tomb-robber, a harlot —someone like you, honest, respected, probably shouldn't even be associating with me. But you did, and since meeting you, the money, the fighting the... fun, just haven't felt like quite enough anymore. ... I think you make some part of me want to be a better person; I can't promise I'll change, I don't know if I can... but I'll try —I've been trying."

 

"... So, what do you say?" she asked, holding out her hand, heart in her throat; the act felt like holding one foot over the edge of a bottomless cliff —it would take only the slightest push one way or the other to either save, or destroy, her.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#326 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 01:29 PM

The Venator gave a very subtle, one-sided smile. "I'm sure she heard you," he replied quietly as he took the circlet between two fingers and pointedly - if discreetly - slipped it into the pouch in which Percula still hid, to direct Marcus's attention to it. He fully expected her to peek out at 'Mr. Mustache' at any minute.

 

Sure enough, with a big, perhaps somewhat sheepish grin, she lunged at ‘Mister Mustache’s’ face and caught his nose in a ‘big’ hug. “Awww, thanks!” Saffron said, before equally abruptly returning to her hiding spot.

 

Absentmindedly scratching his nose where her tiny wings had  tickled them in her retreat, the veteran Inquisitor could not help but smile at the gesture.  Even he had to admit, that was rather adorable.  With a hushed “you are most welcome” to Percula and a nod to Caiden, he went about his business, still grinning in satisfaction.

 

---

Not long afterward, Marcus fought the urge to yelp as Neitha took him by the arm, dragging him toward a hallway that wasn’t being frequented by wounded, orphans, servants, or anyone else.

 

"We got interrupted before... I thought we should talk" she said softly, leaning up against a wall, arms crossed. "I know we'll be leaving soon; you have your duties, and the others have... whatever the hell it is they do. But, before that, I wanted to ask... I was wondering —damn!" she broke off with a sheepish laugh, covering her face with one hand to hide her embarrassment as much as her incipient blush. "... So this is what being self-conscious feels like..." she muttered to herself.

 

"Look, I just... I need to know —I need to hear you say it. Are you willing to give this —us— a try?" she asked softly, despite the weight that the question held for her. "You don't know everything about me, but you know a lot: I'm a killer, a thief, a tomb-robber, a harlot —someone like you, honest, respected, probably shouldn't even be associating with me. But you did, and since meeting you, the money, the fighting the... fun, just haven't felt like quite enough anymore. ... I think you make some part of me want to be a better person; I can't promise I'll change, I don't know if I can... but I'll try —I've been trying."

 

"... So, what do you say?" she asked, holding out her hand, heart in her throat; the act felt like holding one foot over the edge of a bottomless cliff —it would take only the slightest push one way or the other to either save, or destroy, her.

For a moment...or was it an eternity?...Marcus was still and nearly expressionless.  Then he reached out a quivering hand to take hers, his breathing slow and deliberate.  His voice husky with emotion, he murmured, “You’re right, I don’t know everything about you...but I’d like to, if you’ll allow me.”  He seemed to steadily grow more confident, his hand no longer shaking but still holding hers gently, as he brought up the other to cradle the side of her face.  “You’re forward and dangerous at first glance, but only a fool would stop looking there.  Beneath the tattoos and brashness, I’ve seen real passion.  You just...feel...things in ways I’ve kept bottled up for years, and you make me want to change, too.”

 

The Inquisitor inhaled deeply, staring unblinking into her eyes, before declaring, “I say ‘yes.’  To whatever on Midgard ‘this’ is, I say ‘yes,’ with all my heart.”  He smiled up at her, drawing her close until they both heard a soft gasp down the hall.  Marcus’ eyes widened as his head snapped around to see the source of the interruption, only to gulp nervously when he saw his mother standing there, with her hand over her mouth.  But before he could stammer an explanation, Pegah used the same hand to fan herself slightly, a look of glee on her face, before winking at Neitha and swiftly exiting as if nothing had happened.

 

---

 

Drake gave a smile and a nod, despite the dull pain deep in his gut at his literal inability to accept such hospitality - as he once could have. "Thank you," he said. "But... I don't stay in one place for very long anymore. I'm, y'know, out seeing the world now."

 

Kye didn't offer much by way of response, just a nod, letting others speak for him. Sure, he'd love to stay somewhere for a while, maybe try to find a home - but a city full of so many priests and pious people and, especially, nice people didn't need something like him around. Not that they would want something like him around, if they knew the truth.

 

Caiden was one of the last to speak, saying only, "I appreciate the hospitality. I'm sure I'll come back this way soon enough, and I'll happily take you up on that offer... But, for now, I have duties elsewhere."

 

The Capulets nodded sadly, and Petruchio uttered, “We are sad to see you go, but such is life in the Haven of the Crossroads.  May all the gods guide your path and grant you shelter wherever life takes you, and should it bring you back to our doorstep, you need only knock to find refuge with us once more.”

 

The younger Lucretia, who had been chatting with Kye, smiled forlornly and waved subtly at him from afar.  Any remaining family members or available servants joined in with the handshaking and farewells, making sure their guests had any supplies they needed before they left.  Little Adrian was remarkably quiet for once, hugging Caiden and Agethar at the knees as he held back tears.

 

Marcus embraced each member of his family, with backslapping and hair-ruffling evenly given and distributed.  “Guess you’re going with them, huh?,” Alfonso asked in resignation, fiddling with his bandages.  Marcus responded, “Aye, brother.  Duty calls me onward, for now.”

 

Behnam softly punched Marcus’ shoulder, snapping, “Just don’t make us wait another twenty-five years to see you again.  At the five year mark, I’m putting a warrant out for you, and no, just sending letters will not satisfy my conditions.”  The brothers shared a hearty laugh as their parents approached Neitha in particular.  Without warning, Pegah pulled her into an embrace, as if she sensed a need, before intoning in Southron, “<You take good care of my son, young lady.  Don’t get him into too much trouble, understand?>”  Her husband made a slightly confused noise at this, only to be dismissively waved away by the matron.  

 

With their good-byes made and their horses saddled, the adventurers made their way to the Warrior’s Gate, the first step on the road to Lake Demon.  Caiden had business in the nearby town of Redfield, his own hometown, and Veritshire was safe enough to begin yet another time of healing.  The Capulets accompanied their friends to the gate, then waved and cheered as they began to grow smaller in the distance.  The companions went on their way and the Capulets returned home, both parties heedless of the furtive stares from those around them.  Veritshire was no longer the same place it had been before the ill-fated festival...but only time would tell if it had changed for the better, or the worse.



 

((This group has now transitioned into ZONE: Manor at Redfield))

 

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#327 Sareth

Sareth

    Master of Fate

  • Nova Member
  • 1,228 posts

Posted 20 June 2016 - 02:15 PM

I say ‘yes.’ To whatever on Midgard ‘this’ is, I say ‘yes,’ with all my heart.”

 

Neitha hadn't known it was possible for a person to be this happy. She felt like a weight the size of one of the great Kemheti pyramids had been lifted from her shoulders, leaving her so light and buoyant it seemed impossible she didn't simply drift away from the ground. As Marcus drew her close, she leaned down for a kiss —only for them to both freeze at the sound of a muffled gasp. Her head turned at the same time his did to witness the culprit: his mother, who looked practically giddy before winking at them and promptly exiting without a word.

 

For a second, Neitha was utterly silent. Then she broke down giggling uncontrollably, using one of her hands to try and muffle the sound, as, like a dam bursting, all the tension drained from her. "Well" she said when she'd regained control of herself a few moments later. "She's seen us —I guess we're stuck together now" she said teasingly. The change in her attitude —from potentially-shattering soul-baring, straight back to her normal vivacious and teasing demeanor— could hardly have been more extreme. But that was just how she was; he'd said yes, so she didn't have to worry about it anymore —and just like that she could joke about it.

 

Still, it wasn't polite to do too much teasing at such a moment. To make it up to him, she pulled Marcus back in for that kiss.

 

---

 

“Just don’t make us wait another twenty-five years to see you again. At the five year mark, I’m putting a warrant out for you, and no, just sending letters will not satisfy my conditions.”  

 

"And" Neitha interjected. "Since I've still got my irregulars' papers, I'll probably be the one to execute that warrant" she joked, giving Marcus a teasing smack on his pauldron. "What's the going bounty for absentee brothers?" she asked Behnam jokingly.

 

“<You take good care of my son, young lady.  Don’t get him into too much trouble, understand?>”

 

Neitha froze for an instant in surprise as Pegah pulled her into a hug, before returning it warmly —as strange as it was to be hugged by a... well, not really a stranger anymore, but someone else's mother. Still, it did warm her heart...

 

"<I will>" she promised in reply. 'Well... at the very least I'll get him out of any trouble I get him into... or that he gets himself into' she thought with a grin.

 

Then, at last, it was time to leave Veritshire behind. She'd miss the place, she realized. But the best part of it was coming with her, by her side, and for the first time she had actual hope for the future.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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